In early 2008, I called my smartest, funniest friends together to start a website, and on January 22 of that year Overthinking it published its first posts on the Internet.
Every year since, I’ve written something like the sentence above to commemorate the anniversary (the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth). It reminds me of the way that every year, no matter how old I get or where I am on the earth, my mother calls me on my birthday and tells me the story of how I came into the world. (Without getting too personal, the log-line is something like: “Hi-jinks ensue when a woman overdue to give birth visits a supermarket.” She’s a great storyteller.)
When I was a kid I accepted this tradition as the way things were; when I was a teenager I resented it. In more recent years, I’ve come to understand its value: It marks time. It promises that we’re bound together by our nature and by shared experience. It reminds us that we have an origin (and, I guess, a destination) and that we were conceived with something like a purpose in mind. It makes life’s undifferentiated stream of experiences feel organized and comprehensible.
Overthinking it was certainly conceived with a purpose in mind. In 2008, I had realized that if you took any number of overthinkers and stuck them in a room, what emerged would be more intelligent and more entertaining than the sum of its parts. And my hunch has been borne out by our experience running the site over the last seven years, as, I’m proud to say, that number of overthinkers has expanded from the original crew to include a global community of participants.
Last year’s anniversary post included some hand-wringing about the future of the site and the direction it would take given emerging constraints on our resources, especially time. When we started OTI, we were underemployed and single. Today—and nobody is more surprised by this than us—we are more or less responsible adults, with many demands on our time. Like responsible jobs and adorable children. But we’re still prouder of the site than of most other accomplishments, and we don’t want to neglect it. We want to see it grow.
We spent a big part of the year planning and soul-searching—soul searching takes a while when you can only do it in your spare time—about ways that we can make the site sustainable for its creators. And while I’m not going to announce any specific plans right now—though you’re already aware of one major development, which is our joining the PodcastOne network—I can promise that many projects are underway to secure a future for the site not just as a hobby but as—everyone take a deep breath—a business.
In coming months, you can expect to see a number of new initiatives—wheels are turning on the long-promised redesign—in the area of physical goods (not crappy print-on-demand t-shirts) and digital products (I know one revised-and-expanded ebook a lot of people would be eager to see). We’re also getting into some relatively new areas like monthly subscriptions for people who want premium or behind-the-scenes content (or who just want to support the site), and live events (in fact, we’re going to announce a live event—coming up in just a few weeks—very soon). All these will supplement the blog, podcasts, and videos—which will stay as free as ever. Actually, the availability of some resources will allow us to make more of the free stuff. (Sure would be nice to get back to our post-a-day schedule, right?)
That’s all a little vague, I know, but I hope it sounds as exciting to you as it does to us. Let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see. Happy anniversary, and here’s to a year of experiments to reinvigorate and grow this community we love. Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, thanks for commenting and posting in the forums. Let’s keep it up. We have smarter fun together.
Maybe I’m alone on this one, but I’d love to see The Overview make a comeback. Those always made for fun listens even when you couldn’t pair them with the movies.